In His Own Words: Laurenzo Lapage on Eneco Tour Stage 1

Wed 8 Aug 2012

ORICA-GreenEDGE dedicated their efforts to Aidis Kruopis on the opening stage of the Eneco Tour. Having snagged four bonus seconds during the first two of three intermediate sprints, Kruopis was poised to contend for the leader’s jersey ahead of the final sprint.

A pile-up two kilometers from the finish disrupted the team’s objective as Kruopis hit the deck and Jens Mouris and Fumy Beppu were caught behind the carnage. Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) went on to win the stage and pull on the first leader’s jersey of eighth edition of the Eneco Tour. Sports Director Laurenzo Lapage describes the team’s day.

We began the stage with a plan to work for Aidis in the final. Our secondary goal was to keep the entire team in the front group. We’re already thinking about tomorrow, and sticking towards the front was the safest place for everyone to be.

An early break with two riders went away in the first half of the race. They faced a fierce headwind and were brought back before the final two hours of racing.

Aidis factored into the intermediate sprints, taking third on the first sprint and winning the second. Bonus seconds were available for the top three on each of the intermediate sprints (3-2-1) and on the finish line (10-6-4). We thought Aidis would have a good chance for the leader’s jersey either today or tomorrow if he went for the intermediate sprints.

The second half of the race was dicey, especially the last 40 kilometers. The area where we race today is always dangerous because of the wind, and racing in Holland is risky, in general, because of all the roundabout. The combination of these two elements makes for stressful racing.

The potential split in the peloton from crosswinds never materialized although the fast pace, wind and road furniture combined to whittle down the bunch slightly. Around 150 riders drove towards the finish in Middleburg together. We put Jens and Fumy on the front to begin to set things up for our sprint train.

A crash inside the final two kilometers impacted the first third of the field. Aidis ended up on the tarmac. Fumy and Jens were caught behind riders on the ground. The crash prevented us from finishing up the work we did throughout the entire stage, but Aidis is okay.

Stage two is the team time trial, and we have a competitive group for the discipline. Our goal is to go for the top three on the stage. The three kilometer rule that states riders involved in a crash inside the final three kilometers will be given the same finishing time as riders from the group out of which they crashed. Thanks to this rule, we didn’t lost and any time today, and because of the four bonus seconds Aidis took, he is fourth overall, tied with Taylor Phinney (BMC) on time. I think we still have a chance for the jersey tomorrow.